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Subject: "I Am Always Sad Listening To It"
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:04:11 -0500

text/plain (67 lines)

Albert Innaurato wrote:

>"I am always very suspicious of people who 'like' Turandot, especially
more than the earlier work. Puccini was always a derivative composer. He
was a clever lifter of ideas from elsewhere, but he had the knack of making
them his own usually, as he does in La Boheme. But Turandot, although it
obviously entailed a lot of intellectual heavy lifting and sheer work, is
made up of appliqued shreds and patches from elsewhere right down to
[Schoenberg's] Pierrot Lunaire, Mussorgsky's Gopak, Stravinsky's The
Nightingale and yes of Lehar in the tenor's arias, and on and on and on....
It is dramatically and musically false. It is false to the genius Puccini
demonstrated in all his earlier works with greater and lesser effect. I am
always sad listening to it. I don't think he could have been happy about
having recourse to the cheapest Tchaikovsky gimmick, the dogged use of
sequences to build a melody as in 'In questa reggia'. I happen to like
Tchaikovsky too, but he overuses that trick."

Yes... but what can you reasonably expect from the post-war 1920s,
especially from a composer born in 1858? In that sense Turandot is typical
of the various modernist crises around that time.

You wrote:

>"I happen to like Tchaikovsky too, but he overuses that trick."

As an aside: You might want to read Peter Franklin's book on Late
Romanticism to see how attitudes about Tchaikovsky and others took hold.

Here is a description.

>"Why are some of the most beloved and frequently performed works of the
late-romantic period  --  Mahler, Delius, Debussy, Sibelius, Puccini  --
 regarded by many critics as perhaps not quite of the first rank? Why has
modernist discourse continued to brand these works as overly sentimental
and emotionally self-indulgent? Peter Franklin takes a close and
even-handed look at how and why late-romantic symphonies and operas steered
a complex course between modernism and mass culture in the period leading
up to the Second World War. The style’s continuing popularity and its
domination of the film music idiom (via work by composers such as Max
Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and their successors) bring late-romantic
music to thousands of listeners who have never set foot in a concert
hall. *Reclaiming
Late-Romantic Music* sheds new light on these often unfairly disparaged
works and explores the historical dimension of their continuing role in the
contemporary sound world.

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